September 26, 2012

Dragon Quest III - Ranking

Story & World

Like any good sequel, Dragon Quest III expands the world size and number of quests.  This, of course, means more towns and dungeons to explore as well.  Dungeons stay fairly simple, as is tradition, and will occasionally throw in some light puzzle elements usually regarding finding the correct path (intentionally falling down holes and whatnot).  I also really enjoyed watching Mr. Burke build up his town from nothing and following his progress to his eventual downfall.

The main story follows the same formula as in the previous installments, except for the slight twist of extended questing after defeating Baramos.  NPC dialogues are some of the most varied seen so far.  NPCs often have different things to say during the night than they did during the day.  Although a lot of times it's just "Zzzz..." as they're in bed (yeah, we can be a little creepy).  Changes in text can also occur as quests are completed (it's nice to be recognized for our efforts).  16/20

Character Development

A major improvement over the other two games.  The dream sequence quest at the beginning to determine personality type is an excellent introduction to the more in-depth system.  Eight classes are available to fill out three slots in the party in any combination desired.  If that isn't enough, during the game characters can change classes at the Dharma Shrine.  This cuts their stats in half and they start back at level one but they keep any spells or abilities from the old class.  For example, for her first twenty levels, Muffin was a cleric who then switched over to the fighter class.  She quickly levelled up to become a formidable offensive power while still being able to cast up to 12 Healmore spells.  Stat-boosting seeds are frequently found throughout the game, allowing for some degree of customization.  The personality aspect of each character alters stats gained after levelling (e.g. the Romantic type boosts agility and intelligence while hampering strength and endurance).  Types can be changed permanently through the use of books or temporarily by equipping certain items.

As expected, there are more weapons and armours to be found and each character has five slots to be filled (weapon, body armour, shield, helm, and accessory).  Many items have invokable special effects, which gives the non-spellcasters a little variety in their attack options.

Should also mention some of the magic-like abilities that become available to the dealer and thief classes.  They are listed under spells but use either very little or no magic points.  The dealer is able to dig anywhere to possibly find a small amount of gold and also can yell for a merchant to come which functions just like a shop.  The thief abilities are very useful and include such perks as being able to determine how many unopened chests are left in a dungeon level, where the closest town is located, and unveiling any hidden items on the current screen (great for finding small medals).  17/20

Combat & Monsters

Combat has the same structure as found in DQII, having encounters with multiple types of monsters.  Some monster mixes have excellent synergy and make for some difficult random encounters.  Swapping characters in and out from the party prevented getting stuck performing the same strategies.  For example, I had a healing-heavy party configuration used for exploring new dungeons which could then switch to an offensive config for taking out bosses.  At the end of the day, though, the majority of fights still consist of just attacking with a melee weapon.  15/20

Graphics & Sound

The quality and quantity of the graphics and sound are very close to original two remakes but with two important differences.  The first being that the monster animations during battles are so much more fluid and slick.  They are easily some of the best I've ever seen on a SNES.  The second difference concerns the music.  While being of the same general quality as its predecessors, the big bonus for me came when I first fell into Alefgard.  The music changes to the tunes found in the first Dragon Quest!  Unsuppressible smiles ensued.  19/20

Gameplay

The game kept the group good n' poor the majority of the time.  Especially poor with six other characters constantly whining for all the latest gear.  The betting in the monster arenas is easily the best form of gambling found in a game so far.  The small medals system had me keeping my eye out for any suspicious looking tiles, at least until the thief gained her seeking ability.  And, even though the final board fucked me in the goat ass, I still have much love for Pachisi.  Or, at least, the concept of Pachisi.

Following the footsteps of DQII, the game starts off fairly linear and then really opens up once the ship is obtained.  The orbs can be found in any order, just like the crests previously.  The difficulty overall seems to be kicked up a notch; I had far more individual deaths occurring this time around.  The game is extremely engaging for its entirety; to end a session usually required a Willpower Difficulty Check: 20.  18/20

Final Ranking:  85/100